Thursday, 22 January 2015

Having Fun in Muddy Puddles

Living in the countryside means we get to spend alot of time outdoors, even in the winter. Wrapped up in cosy hats and scarves, warm coats and hands protected, snuggled in gloves, we head to the beach, the forest or just across the fields to the park.  Blowing away the cobwebs is as good for us as it is for the children, even our teenagers will join us, as being outside is a way of life for us, instilled from when they were tiny, playing in the garden whatever the month.

Having the right outdoor clothing obviously makes spending time outside in the chillier months all the more bearable.  something I have learnt over the years living in rural Suffolk is that you must dress for the weather.  There have been times I have been caught out and being cold on the beach is no fun at all.  With this in mind we have always made sure the children have good winter coats, opting regularly for ski jackets, due to their warmth, for keeping off that sea breeze and of course keeping them dry when the heavens open just at school pick up time.  Obviously as they have got older they choose other coats most of the time, or no coat (teenagers!) yet they all still opt for cosy waterproofs when we head out for walks.  So when Muddy Puddles got in contact, asking if Kitty would like to test their Blizzard Ski Jacket, of course we said yes! Having inherited numerous hand me downs over the years Kitty was delighted to try a brand new coat.

Arriving the day before Christmas eve, Kitty eagerly tried on her new coat.  The colour was perfect, not too pink and was very snuggly.  We both particuarly liked that the hood is detatchable as Kitty often finds hoods annoying, unless it's windy or raining, when she welcomes the shelter it offers.  She was also impressed with all the pockets and a space on the label to write her name.  Personally I was very impressed with the overall quality of the coat, the fleece lining was soft, the outer shell seemed tough enough to put up with some serious outdoor fun. Over the years we have brought numerous coats and after initial inspection this stands in the top three.  Muddy Puddles is a brand I have loved for years, but as the children got older I moved away from it, but have previously loved their waterproof trousers and all in one suits.  

So aesthetically it passed the Kitty test and so far had past my test, but now we had to try it outside.  Would it keep my youngest warm and dry, but more importantly would it be cumbersome when playing at the park or heading up the climbing wall in the forest?  Having a coat the doesn't hinder play but keeps children warm and dry is important for parents and I am pleased to report that the Blizzard Ski Jacket fits the bill.  Furthermore it is easy to clean, quickly wiping down after a slip playing football on a muddy field and is washable too.  Now to talk price, is this coat good value for money?  With an RRP of £59 it may seem a little pricey for some, (hence the 4.5 stars in the star test below)but believe me it is worth every penny.  As a mother of five children affordability is key but durablity is of vital importance too.  I need to know that something like this will last more than one season, will be worn year after year, even handed down to younger siblings.  Bearing this in mind, this jacket is not expensive as I know Kitty will get at least two winters wear and then I am sure my little nieces will love it as much as we do.  Now that is fantastic fashion maths value for money!

The Star Test (5 being excellent, 1 being poor)
Blizzard Ski Jacket from Muddy Puddles

Fit  - 5 Stars
Quality  - 5 Stars
Durability - 5 Stars
Comfort - 5 Stars
Price - 4.5 Stars
Practicality - 5 Stars

I have just popped on to the Muddy Puddles website today and the Blizzard Ski Jacket is in their winter sale, reduced to £36, even better value for money.

Until next time, take care.

Disclaimer - Muddy Puddles kindly provided the Blizzrd Ski Jacket to be reviewed, however all opinions, thoughts and text are my own.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

The Year In Books - January

Last year I vowed to read more and eagerly took part in Laura at Circle of Pine Trees project, The Year in Books.  This seemed like a wonderful way to make sure I read regularly again, but also connected with other bibliophiles, sharing our love of reading and discovering even more books to read. Without the pressure of a book club, all reading the same book, each of us chose our own books, writing each month about these and then sharing these via Laura's linky.  So now I am thinking ahead to this year and will again be taking part in The Year in Books and I know that Laura has plans to expand on last years success, by adding monthly twitter chats and maybe even a month where we can read the same book if we want to join in.  

Obviously the next eleven weeks for me will be filled with dissertation research and writing, but I still plan to read fiction, every night before I go to sleep.  I am currently two thirds through 'How To Fall in Love' by one of my favourites, Cecelia Ahern.  This is a truly wonderful page turner, with intrinsic detail to the underlying story aswell as what is written on the page.  Learning to live and love life again the characters are believable and I truly hope that they find happiness in the final chapters.

Thankfully Santa has added to my increasing reading pile, with Cecelia Ahern's latest 'The Year I Met You', the much anticipated 'Us' by David Nicholls and then Markus Zusak's 'The Book Thief'.  Now I know I am a little late to the party with the last one, but I am really looking forward to reading this.  As for 'Us' I am a little apprehensive as 'One Day' is  one of my favourite books of the past decade, so I shall cross my fingers and hope it doesn't disppoint.  Another addition to our bookshelves here this Christmas was a beautiful Folio edition of my all time favourite book, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.  The joys of being married to a vintage and antique bookseller!  

So what will I read next? I think it will be 'Us'. How about you, what is next on your reading list? For more inspiration, or to join in the fun, visit Circle of Pine Trees to find out more about The Year in Books.

Until next time, take care.